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Man who tried to raid Bury St Edmunds snooker club is jailed

Ipswich Crown Court ANL-140617-141524001
Ipswich Crown Court ANL-140617-141524001

A judge has told a man who tried to raid a Bury St Edmunds snooker club that sending him to prison will be good news for the public over Christmas.

John Harden, who used a shovel to attempt to smash his way into the Pot Black snooker club, has 68 previous convictions for 208 separate offences, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

He appeared in court today after pleading guilty to burglary with intent to steal.

Jailing him for 12 months, Judge Rupert Overbury told Harden: “I think it is not a bad thing for the public to keep you off the streets over the Christmas period.”

Prosecuting, Nicola May said that in the early hours of July 19 the owner of the snooker club received a call to say that a burglar alarm at the premises in Eastgate Street had been activated.

Andrew Goodridge was quickly on the scene and found two glass door panels together with wooden surrounds had been damaged.

Police viewed CCTV images from the club and launched a search of the area. Soon afterwards Harden was spotted on a nearby playing field and appeared to be trying to remove his hooded top.

Miss May said that police dogs helped to locate the shovel used in the offence nearby and Harden was arrested.

CCTV showed Harden in the reception area of the club with the shovel. Miss May said: “It appeared that he was trying to hook some wires which were connected to CCTV to disable them.”

Traces of blood and fragments of glass recovered from the scene and from Harden were used to forensically link him to the offence.

When interviewed Harden, 51, of Chedburgh Place, Haverhill, claimed that he had cut his hand while visiting the club the previous day but later admitted his guilt. He caused £1,000 worth of damage.

In addition to his previous convictions, Harden’s record showed that in the last 19 years he has ignored or breached 63 court orders.

Craig Marchant, in mitigation, said Harden had, since being remanded in custody in August, been working to address his drug use which had been the root of his offending.

Mr Marchant said: “He says the reason for committing the offence was not for the purchase of drugs. He wanted to get away from the premises where he lives in Haverhill.”

Sentencing him, Judge Overbury told Harden: “It seems you may have finally realised that you will have to deal with your situation once and for all or you will spend the rest of your life going in and out of prison. What a waste of a life that would be.”

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